Number One, Looking Out for Same

Do you trust no one but yourself? Do you always find yourself looking out for number one?

Someone who only trusts herself tends to be very suspicious, tense and lonely. If you can’t trust others, it’s hard to share your problems. It’s hard to be yourself when you don’t trust others to accept you—and others do pick up on that lack of trust. Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel like I always have to be in control?
  • Do I generally dismiss the opinions of others? Do I ask at all?
  • Do I tend to think the worst of others or push them away?

These are certainly signs of someone who has quite a problem with trust.

hidden knives to attack

This problem goes beyond a healthy caution and into isolation and fear. How might this have developed? It’s usually a defensive maneuver. Perhaps you were abused or neglected. Certainly anyone who was abused learned not to trust the abuser. And it’s easy to transfer that fear to outsiders. It can be very hard to trust after being hurt so many times.

If you were neglected, whether it was your physical needs or emotional ones, you might have withdrawn. You could have believed that no one cared and the only one you could depend on was yourself. A child raised in an orphanage often has trouble trusting his adoptive parents to provide for him. These children will even hide food for fear they will not have that basic need met.

Maybe you grew up with some type of handicap or were just “different” and were bullied and no one helped you. Someone who moves a lot and attends many different schools can also experience something like this.

And, of course, boundaries are an integral part of this issue as well. Those who trust only themselves tend to have boundaries that are strong, wide and high. Their boundaries not only keep out the bad folks, they keep out the good ones. They don’t just protect, they isolate.boundary that is too strong


You could develop this distrustful attitude through situations a lot less dramatic than the ones listed. It all depends on how you respond.



If you look back at Part 2 (about trusting too easily), you will see there is another common denominator—fear. Just as the person who trusts everyone is fearful of making decisions and mistakes, the one who trusts only herself fears others making decisions that will hurt her.

No one wants to live in fear but in lots of cases, it’s a default position.

It’s all we know.

And it’s not healthy.


Part 3 of a 6 part series on trust


Next: do you trust God?

Part 1| Relationship Reliability: Who Do You Trust?

Part 2| Why Did I Ever Trust You?

Part 3| Number One, Looking Out for Same

Part 4| Third Party Trust

Part 5| In God We Trust?

Part 6| Little by Little




all illustrations courtesy of